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Border Patrol union chief ‘confident’ Yuma claims will be proven false

(KTAR News Photo/Matt Bertram)

PHOENIX — The president of the National Border Patrol Council says he is “very confident” that allegations of agent misconduct in a Yuma migrant shelter will be proven false.

Brandon Judd told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Wednesday that cameras around the facility can easily determine what took place.

An NBC News report said a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy claimed that agents took sleeping mats away from detainees in his cell after they complained about the taste of water and food they were given.

“You can’t take mats away from people without it being captured on camera,” Judd said.

A 15-year-old girl from Honduras alleged a “large, bearded officer” groped her in front of other people during a pat-down. Judd said this claim raises some suspicion.

“We do not have male officers that are searching female individuals that are in custody,” he said.

“The person that claims that she was sexually assaulted, she claims it was by a Border Patrol agent who had a beard. We don’t have beards unless we have specific shaving waivers.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement to KTAR News that the sexual assault claim is already under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General.

“The allegations do not align with common practice at our facilities and will be fully investigated,” the statement read.

Gov. Doug Ducey’s office said in a statement to KTAR News that it is looking into the allegations.

“The safety, security and well-being of children housed in our state must be prioritized. The governor made this clear after allegations regarding Southwest Key,” spokesman Patrick Ptak said.

“We are working with federal authorities to gather the facts and ensure any and all allegations are being properly and seriously addressed and that these children are safe.”

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